I’ve spent the last five years working on the Google Civics team alongside some of the most talented engineers in the business. During that time we built and launched products that have helped hundreds of millions of users participate in the civic process. Among my most favorite Google projects are:
- The ever more ambitious US election products for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 cycles.
- Launching “Who Represents Me” information in the Google Civic Information API
- A pilot initiative that provided geo-targeted municipal information (like school cancellations, suspension of parking rules or city counsel meeting announcements) to Google Now users in Los Angeles.
- Election results features for the UK, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, France and Canada*
I’ve learned so much from the smart, kind, playful people I’ve worked with at Google, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to work on projects that push the envelope of what can be done. It’s been a privilege, but the time has come to say “goodbye”.
And also “hello”. The first week of March, I start a new role at Facebook as the product manager for local news. I have long been interested in the ways that technology can help us identify shared values and build better mechanisms for making decisions about our communities. I’m wary of becoming infected with tech-savior syndrome, but it’s clear that our platforms play a role in maintaining strong democracies that serve all of us well. Our global society is complex and diverse. Defeating tribalism, fostering informed public debate and making space for compromise is necessary for good governance. Of all the shared institutions supporting our civic infrastructure, trusted, local journalism may be the most threatened. We need access to accurate sources of information and a healthy public square to make decisions in the best interest of the people.
Last week, Facebook publicly committed to focus on building features that will improve our ability to create the world we want for each other. I am honored to be asked to join this effort, and I look forward to serving the users, journalists and publishers in my new role.
I start the new gig in two weeks. Until then, you can find me knee deep in moving boxes. I’ll be packing up my family for a move to New York. If you’re a friend in DC, Reid and I would love to say goodbye in person. If you aren't yet a friend, it's not too late! We will be hanging out with friends at the Copycat Co. starting at 7:30 on Wednesday March 1. I hope to see you before we leave.